Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mountain Biking and Outdoor Education

I was notified of an interesting program offered by Roaring Camp which combines family mountain biking with outdoor education:
It is with much excitement that "we" share with you the beginnings of our NEW family cycling program through the California Redwoods at Roaring Camp Railroads in Felton, California (Santa Cruz Mountains/San Lorenzo Valley) . We have launched the exploratory inquiry and informational page on the Roaring Camp Dot Com Website, inviting our guests to submit their suggestions and sign up if they would like to become part of the focus group that assists in the launch of the new program and we would like to invite you to join us and share your interests as well. If you go to and scroll down to the photo of the cyclist it will take you to the new cycle page.

We have selected local cyclist - Eric Lynberg to serve as in the position of "Outdoor Specialist." Eric's enthusiasm and ideas of creating a fun and educational guided cycle program has been very refreshing as he shares the place he calls "home" the scenic and beautiful San Lorenzo Valley. Eric is discovering unique things about the forest including many "natural" and odd shape trees (trees growing out of trees) and did you know many things that grow in the forest naturally glow in the dark?

In the first day of our website launch we received over 20 inquires from media and tour operators from around the world so we are extremely pleased.

If you would like to join us on a test run of the program this fall, please complete the inquiry form on the website and we will add your name to our list. More details to follow soon.

Paul Nakamoto
Roaring Camp Railroads
More information and a web form can be found at:

I have already contacted them and have offered to help with this program in any way possible. Please fill in the web form if you have any feedback or want to participate in the focus and test groups.

This looks like the start of a great program.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Lance loves Santa Cruz Trails!

When I went to Washington a few months ago, the American Airways in-flight magazine had a one page fitness article on Lance Armstrong. The sidebar had a bit on "Top Cycling Spots" and I was overjoyed to see that he mentions Santa Cruz as an "absolutely great place for mountain biking" and "frankly, for my money, you can't go wrong."

I had heard rumors of Lance's visit to our town so I contacted a friend at Giro to get the story. A couple of years ago, Lance visited San Francisco to meet with some corporate partners. He paid a visit to Santa Cruz and brought along his mountain bike. He was doing a for an autograph and meet and greet session with Giro employees - who were a major sponsor of Lance. Then he snuck off for a ride with the Senior VP of Marketing at Giro and a couple of other people. According to my source, the pace was brisk on the climbs and Lance was flying on the descents as well.

Lance Armstrong is one of the only nationally recognized cyclists in mainstream America. Having him mention Santa Cruz as a "Top Cycling Spot" for mountain biking is a huge PR win. This little statement from a world renowned cycling champion in a throw away magazine is pure gold.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Update on Coast Dairies: BLM conveyance soon(ish)

The Coast Dairies property is a 7000 acre parcel of land north of Santa Cruz which was purchased by the Trust for Public Land to be protected as public open space. The details of the deal and the natural features of the land was well documented in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle.

A year ago, the 400 acres of the coastal side of the Coast Dairies property had been conveyed to State Parks. The remaining 5,700 acres of inland property was supposed to be transfered to Bureau of Land Management (BLM) but there have been some setbacks. Over the past couple of weeks I have had conversations with officials at the BLM about the status of the Coast Dairies Property.

One of the major problems which held up conveyance was a minor contamination issue from the CEMEX mining operations above the property. A canyon in the Coast Dairies property was used for waste rock and it was covering some pipes. There were concerns about leakage and BLM didn't want to take this area due to the potential long term liability of cleaning it up. We should note that there is no known contamination issue on the land. One proposal would be to sell the waste rock area back to CEMEX. However, the TPL and the County didn't really like this idea so it languished for a while. More recently TPL, the County, BLM and CEMEX finally came to an agreement to sell this portion of the land to CEMEX so the last major hurdle has been resolved.

All that needs to be done before conveyance to BLM is to do a new survey to draw up the lot lines and take care of other bureaucratic minutiae. The Field Manager felt that BLM will take possession of the property in October at the earliest or January at the latest. An interim public access plan will be in place soon after conveyance.

BLM has a mandate to protect and restore the natural habitat but the agency has traditionally been very recreation friendly. A trails plan will be drafted according to Chapter 7 in the Coast Dairies Long-Term Resource and Access Plan:
The Trails Plan will provide for a more extensive trail network on the Property than is described for the Interim Access Stage. It is likely that most of the trails specified in the Trails Plan will use the alignments of existing farm, ranch, and mining roads. However, not all of the existing roads on the Property are appropriate or desirable as recreational trails, and some trail alignments may use new routes or the alignments of old, abandoned roads.

The Trails Plan will include trail alignments, allowable uses for each trail, and targeted use levels. The Trails Plan will seek to balance the goal of allowing recreational access to the interior of the property with the goal of resource protection by specifying appropriate trail densities, uses, and design standards.
MBOSC is looking forward to a partnership with the BLM and will be participating in the trails planning process. We will be active participants in the stewardship of the Coast Dairies lands so that we can protect and enjoy this treasure of public land for many generations.

Yuppies are the target market

A few weeks ago the New York Times travel section had a great article on mountain biking in Fruita, Colorado. This article is practically a brochure for mountain bike tourism in Fruita and sounds like it could have been written by the chamber of commerce. It's also notable that this article appears in the New York Times - which is not your typical mountain bike rag. Fruita is targeting yuppies who are looking for an adventure vacation. These types of tourists would go on active eco-vacations like skiing, white water rafting, hiking and mountain biking. These are the same people we would love to bring to enjoy the trails of Santa Cruz County.

The inspiration for Fruita embracing mountain bike tourism is mentioned in the article:
Just over 10 years ago, Fruita was a depressed agricultural town with an oil refinery being shut down by the Environmental Protection Agency. Then, Troy Rarick, a 44-year-old cyclist from nearby Grand Junction, conceived a plan to transform Fruita by giving it a new identity: ecotourism hub.
Fruita has several hundred miles of single-track and is widely recognized as one of the premiere mountain bike destinations in the world. That town does a great job of attracting mountain bike tourists. They have an amazing Fat Tire Festival that continues to bring in a lot of revenue. I know of a lot of mountain bikers who have made the trek to Fruita in the past few years and they have all enjoyed their stay. Mountain biking is a source of civic pride for Fruita and they have bike murals and sculptures on the main street.

The town of Fruita inspires me that Santa Cruz can similarly embrace this brand of eco-tourism and we can all grow the global market for mountain bike tourism. Perhaps some day the New York Times will be writing about Santa Cruz and the swoopy single track dancing in and out of the redwood trees with blades of sun piercing though the morning fog.

That would be sweet!

Friday, July 06, 2007


It's beer o'clock and I want to do a shout out to one of our supporters.

Seabright brewery is an awesome supporter of mountain biking. The brewery is practically across the street from Santa Cruz Bicycles. The owner Charlie Meehan is an avid mountain biker and a supporter of MBOSC. We have our monthly meetings on the patio at Seabright and Charlie comps us the beer! This makes the meetings fun, lively and increases participation.

One of the best benefits of the holding the MBOSC meetings at Seabright Brewery is that we get to drink the fine beer that they brew on the premises. That would be fine in any establishment but Seabright is a brew pub and it also makes my favorite beer: Kenny!

The "Resolution Red Ale" a.k.a. "Kenny" or "Ken-nay!" is my favorite beer in the world. It's so good that it's always in short supply at the brewery. The story behind the nickname of the Red is really interesting. Charlie sez:
The face on the label is one of our security guys named Kenny Kahn. One of the staff took that picture of him at last years Xmas party and posted it at the Pub. Our graphics guy made a label as a joke and we went with it. (My idea dammit). At the pub the Resolution has become known as simply Kenny! I'll have a pitcher of Kenny!!! BTW, Kenny digs being on the label.

The "Blur" is a delicious Indian Pale Ale named after the Santa Cruz bike. It doesn't need to be very cold to taste great so it's perfect for camping. This was the official beer for the MBOSC road trip to Utica Reservoir.

The Blur, Kenny and Oatmeal Stout are available in 22 oz bottles in selected stores in Santa Cruz County and the Bay Area of California. I know for a fact that Seabright Beers are available at Mission Liquors in Santa Cruz and at the Summit Store up on Skyline Road - convenient location to find a tasty snack and beverage after riding at Demo.

A warning: all these beers have over 7% alcohol so it's not for kids.

MBOSC has it's monthly meeting at Seabright on the second Wednesday of the month. Come out and learn about our advocacy efforts and taste these delectable beers.

Thanks for the support, Charlie!